ECB set for crunch talks over Ashes tour this week

·2-min read
The Ashes series featuring England’s Joe Root (left) and Australia’s Tim Paine is in the balance  (Getty)
The Ashes series featuring England’s Joe Root (left) and Australia’s Tim Paine is in the balance (Getty)

The England and Wales Cricket Board will meet this week to decide whether the men’s Ashes will go ahead this winter after players were given an update on travel arrangements for the tour.

Australia’s stringent approach to coronavirus restrictions has cast doubt on the marquee series, which is scheduled to begin in December, with England players understood to harbour concerns over quarantine, bubble environments and access for families.

The ECB has now made a presentation on Cricket Australia’s proposals to players and is waiting to hear how many of their first-choice side is prepared to commit.

A statement read: “Later this week the ECB Board will meet to decide whether the conditions in place are sufficient for the tour to go ahead and enable the selection of a squad befitting a series of this significance.”

Cricket’s once predictable future tours programme has been blown to the wind by the onset of the pandemic, with England’s schedule undergoing repeated changes.

They flew home early from tours of Sri Lanka and South Africa in 2020, saw their recent fifth Test decider against India abandoned on the morning of the match after the tourists decided not to play due to fears of a Covid outbreak and have cancelled white-ball visits to Bangladesh and Pakistan that were scheduled this month.

The Ashes is one of the biggest contests in international sport and while administrators on both sides are eager for it to go ahead as planned, the ECB made it clear the views of the team will ultimately decide the matter.

“Over the weekend we have been talking to England men’s players and management to provide them with the latest information about the proposed arrangements for this winter’s scheduled Ashes tour,” continued the statement.

“We remain in regular and positive dialogue with Cricket Australia over these arrangements as the picture is constantly evolving. With health and wellbeing at the forefront, our focus is to ensure the tour can go ahead with conditions for players and management to perform at their best.

“We will continue talking to our players this week to share the latest information and seek feedback.”

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